Locals in Mudon Township demand removal of illegally operating Chinese-owned factory because of negative environmental and health impacts

November 30, 2018

HURFOM: According to locals, a Chinese-owned factory in Mudon Township has been operating without the official permission of the Mon State government and is badly damaging the local environment. The Pin Lae Pyar Swan Arr Company is running an elephant foot yam operation between Hmane Ga Name and Kyauk Ta Lone villages angering local residents due to the reported negative health effects experienced by a number of locals.

We can’t sleep well at night because of the factory. When they are processing the elephant foot yam in the factory, there are loud noises and we’re awaken by the sound. The factory also produces dirty water and the runoff [into local paddy fields] make us itchy. The smoke emitted from the factory has a burning smell and we can’t tolerate it. [Once], a child had difficulty breathing because of the smell and was admitted to hospital,” said a villager from Kyauk Ta Lone village, Mudon Township.

Even the local villagers have not suffered any acute attack from the factory emissions, they are worried about long-term consequences and health problems,” said one 80-year-old villager.

The Hmane Ga Name village administrator stressed that the factory should follow the current rules and laws in Mon State regarding operating a business, and that they should obtain prior consent from the local community before starting a project.

We can’t accept that they’ve run the factory without permission [from the Mon State government]. They do their business, but we have to suffer the impacts. It’s unacceptable. They have a responsibility to reduce the impacts. If they are going to go on like this, the local people will file a report against them, even if they get permission from the government,” said Administrator U Han Win Aung.

Because of the negative impacts on local villagers and the environment, the local residents have demanded the removal of the factory.

On November 23rd 2018, the Mudon Township General Administration Department sent a letter to the Hmane Ga Name administrator stating that the factory was operating without the permission of the government; however, the factory did not stop their production and is still currently operating.

Regarding permission, we’ve filed documents with the Mon State Chief Minister. I don’t know clearly what permission [you mean]. The permission to run the factory? The permission to build the factory? Or the permission for the investment? We’ve been running our project under the [Foreign Direct] Investment [Law],” said U Thein Myint Aung, a clerk official from the company.

The company officially appealed to members of the Mon State Parliament and particular government departments in order to continue operating, according to U Thein Myint Aung.

We made an appeal because we don’t want to lose our investment. If we produce all of our raw materials [this year], we will stop our factory. After that, we’ll request instruction from the government. If the government approves our appeal, we’ll operate our factory again next year,” said the clerk official.

Yes, the factory is noisy. But we don’t waste water carelessly. We have two tanks that filter the wastewater. The factory has produced a burning smell [in the past] because we used coal-fired power, but we use a kind of biomass power now,” continued U Thein Myint Aung.

 

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